Sydney University Sports Scholarship holder Matt Jaukovic broke the men’s 50m butterfly world record on Saturday night when he sizzled through the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre pool in 22.50 seconds.
Jaukovic, 22, beat compatriots Garth Kates (23.49s) and Chris Wright (23.67s) in the final of the third leg of the FINA World Cup to take 0.10s off the world mark previously held by Brazil’s Kaio Almeida at 22.60 since 2005.
Jaukovic, an economics-law student, is coached at Sydney University by Steve Alderman.
“It was my fifth attempt at the world record,” Jaukovic said. “It’s been a goal of mine for some time and I really can’t believe I’m a world record holder.
“This is my first international meet as an Aussie and I think I’ve done alright. I know I will be the one that everyone wants to beat but I think I can go faster.
“I was long (touching) on both walls. I thought I could swim 22.50 tonight, that’s what I was hoping for and I finally achieved it.”
Jaukovic, who was born in Montenegro in 1985 and swam for his native country as a junior before coming to study in Sydney, said his ultimate goal is to represent Australia at the Olympic Games.
“There is a lot coming up over the next few years with World Championships and Commonwealth Games, but my main goal is to stay focused for the up-coming World Cups,” he said.
The young Sydney University student was a finalist in the100m butterfly at the 2008 Olympic trials but emerged as a real prospect at last month’s Telstra Australian Short Course Championships in Melbourne when he smashed the Australian All-comers record in the 50m butterfly – just missing the world mark. He also won the 100m butterfly at that meet.
As well as earning a $US1500 cheque for last night’s swim, Jaukovic also earned a FINA World Record Bonus cheque of $US10,000.
And the swim earned him 1039 points, which puts him into the lead in the race for the men’s pointscore in Sydney.
Those points will be handy for the ultimate World Cup winner’s prize of $US100,000. Jaukovic is now equal leader with fellow Australian Christian Sprenger on 45 points going into the final four legs of the World Cup Series starting with Singapore next weekend, before moving onto Europe.
“It’s going to be different now,” Jaukovic said. “That’s because before I was an underdog and now people are going to be after me. That is a different perspective but I think I can handle it.”
Jaukovic moved to Australia three-and-a-half years ago to study at Sydney University and improve his swimming.
His parents still live in Montenegro but are hoping to catch up with him at the Moscow round of the World Cup.